(Para leer el artículo en español, pinche aquí: Carta de un joven griego 48 horas antes del referéndum)
It’s certainly not an ordinary year. We are faced with a special challenge, and everybody is called to make a decision.
Each generation lives and thinks according to its own experiences. However, the young people of Greece in particular will always wonder why they should be the ones dealing with this problem. Is it because of the government, our ancestors’ choices, the condition of the world’s economies, all these together or just something else we can’t even imagine?
Although the current crisis is mainly social, it is also certain that you can’t blame the people, but the political circumstances. And yet, these days, the Greek society as a whole is being targeted more than ever. They get criticism from the press and citizens from other countries. We are called irresponsible, lazy, immoral, etc. And even if there was some truth in these words, it doesn’t represent each of us. How can all of us be put in the same bag? People are different, you can not be absolute. It is likely that you have never experienced the situation that we are facing, so you don’t know what it is like to be the one that you effortlessly accuse.
I am not sanctifying the Greeks. Of course not. If I am completely honest, I have to admit that in the past years they did not defend social equality, they were often wrong about their critical judgement, and they acted several times in the name of their personal profit. However I believe, that me, my friends, and many other people, are not responsible for the difficult moments we are going through now.
We believe it is unfair to waste our lifes because of the mistakes other people have made on our behalf. The involvement of the media in this mess make us feel even more disappointed. Everything is presented quite dramatically: news’ titles with huge letters of despair; trembling voices and expressions of total alarmism by presenters and journalists, with interpretations and performances that even a Hollywood star would be jealous of… And when you see the people the media are targeting you, I still get more upset. People queuing in front of ATMS full of anguish, wondering how they will be able to live with 60 euros each per day. People who suddenly realized that even for the simplest needs they had no cash at home, and they had to visit a bank to buy some cigarettes.
One TV report says that lenders have given an ultimatum and another says they haven’t. Another report claims that there is no scope for further dialogue and a different one says that there is a will for new negotiations. And, somewhere in the middle, there is us, not knowing what is really true, what to believe. If you support the foreigners, you seem to doubt Greek honesty; if you support your Government, you seem to blame these foreigners for trying to destroy you. In this situation none one can really know what it’s going on. You are not in the place where the conversations are taking place, you don’t have full knowledge of the points they are making, and yet there are many “omniscient” people who will confidently say that they know what is really true, or at least they think so, depending on what their favorite political parties say.
One example of this disinformation is that in the upcoming referendum: the question refers purely to the acceptance or not of the hard conditions’ Greece would have to face, NOT whether you want to leave Europe. Of course, in the long run, this could happen as well, but a possible majority of negative responses clearly doesn’t mean that they automatically want to get out of the currency and the Union; it just means that just don’t accept the new austerity measures.
These collateral meanings were created by the press, and now many people believe that they are asked to vote about austerity or bankruptcy. As ordinary citizens, we simply don’t have any substantial information. How can we be sure about the exact situation we would face if there was a return to the Drachma, or if we accept the new measures? How can we understand financial terms and agreements? Only a qualified analyst can know all of this; the rest of us just hear a general and imprecise vision of a bleak future awaiting us. We are simply propaganda victims of the channel we hear on the news.
This also applies to foreign politicians. How can we possibly know that they are not trying to keep us within the European Union just because it will be profitable for themselves? Even though the Germany financial Minister may have pure intentions, I do not think he’s more interested Greece’s prosperity than in the strong European Union his country leads. Furthermore he and many others clarified that they are against the referendum, in other words against democracy. This attitude is unacceptable. Democracy was born and perhaps died in this country. However it’s tragic to oppose it when something so important is at stake.
Greeks are divided, and, unfortunately, they are not as united as they would like to seem. In these kind of national issues, personal needs prevail over the common success. Everyone thinks more of themselves and that is why friction happens. But we can’t be selfish now, we have to fight together, and if we lose we lose together. People usually fear the unknown and what is different, but without curiosity we wouldn’t have discovered anything. If we don’t try, we‘ll never know.